Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank

Ross Drummond 01/04/2007

Rating: 4/5

It sounds like a marketing department's wet dream, take an established band with a large fan base in the US but not quite as big in the UK and add one member of one of the greatest bands of all time (who happen to be a UK band), record an album and watch the sales fly. Oh and throw in that singer from The Shins on a few tracks just incase The Smiths isn't their cup of tea.

There you have it, Modest Mouse, the once underground cult indie act with their debut album 'This Is A Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About', Sophomore effort 'The Lonesome Crowded West' and thirrd effort 'The Moon & Antarctica', and then the commercial smash and multi platinum selling 'Good News for People Who Love Bad News', have returned with 'We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank' their first record since recruiting Johnny Marr and their original drummer Jeremiah Green.

Kicking off with the accordion and string laden track 'March Into The Sea' it takes about 10 seconds before you know it's a Modest Mouse record with Isaac Brock's split personality vocals of incandescent ranting 'Well, treat me like disease/ Like the rats and the fleas/Ahaha! Ahaha!' to his calmer more melodic 'If you think you know enough to know you know we've had enough/And If you think you don't, you probably will'

Flowing into the first single off of the album 'Dashboard' features those choppy guitars from Brock and now of course new addition Marr whose influence appears to be that of a more melodic feel that is tainted throughout the whole album especially with songs such as the epic 'Parting of the Sensory' which builds and builds do the climatic psycho Brock screaming “One day you will die and someone or something is gonna steal your carbon”

Lyrically Brock is on top form with the aforementioned songs as well as others such as 'Education': “Call it education/It was somewhere in between/You gave me some sound advice/But I wasn't listening” and well, nearly any song on the album. Recurring themes also abound with the fascination of carbon featuring on many tracks as well as mentions of the sea and drowning.

Hidden Gems come when you realise it's Sub Pop (the label Brock did A&R for) man Mr James Mercer providing backing vocals on “We've Got Everything", "Missed The Boat", and "Florida", adding a pretty little cherry on top of one of the best cakes of the year.

This is Modest Mouse's year, this record is brilliant. Go and buy it April 2nd.